Data breaches are making headlines everyday, do you want to in be one of them? Read on the article to understand how you can stop hackers from crashing your success party!
No matter you are managing a business or an application, sound security is not an option anymore. Businesses who consider data security from the very start are able to make more reasonable decisions based on the sensitivity of the data involved. Now, the type of data threats may change over time, but the basics of data security remain constant. This article basically will help you stop hackers from crashing your success party by providing some best practices when it comes to security.
These best practices will handle the vulnerabilities that could affect your business. Moreover, they will also deal with how you can decrease the risk they impose. So read on!
Start with Security
From employee personal data to sensitive customer data, every part of your business holds some type of crucial information. You must start with security and include it into the decisionmaking no matter which department you are talking about. By making right strategy about which type of data do you need to collect, how long will you need it and who can access it, the risk of data compromise can be reduced to a huge level. To that end,
- Ask only relevant information:
Well, nobody can steal what you don’t have, right? So when do you ask for your customer’s information? Most probably while registration, right? So when was the last time you analyzed the fields of your signup form? Are you asking all the relevant information? Are you asking only those pieces of information that can help your business? If you are collecting unnecessary information, it will become more difficult for you to secure it. So always stick with the needed information.
- Hold on the information only till you need it:
Now it might be necessary to gather personal data of your customer but keeping it once the deal is done is a bad idea. Not only will it violate the bank rules, it will also pile up the responsibility to keep the data secure. The simplest way businesses can limit this risk is by securely disposing this information as soon as the task is done.
Restrict Access to Sensitive Data
Now that you have decided to collect the right data, the next step is to keep it secure. Of course, you want to keep it safe from cyber criminals but what about your own employees? Not everyone requires access to this sensitive data, right? If any of your employee doesn’t require this sensitive data, he/she doesn’t need to have the access to it. Moreover, you must also restrict administrative access using which anyone can make changes in your system. Make sure the admin access is provided to only responsible person.
Impose Strong Authentication Policies
If you are dealing with sensitive customer data, it is must for you to impose strong authentication policies. Including strong password policies can ensure your data is accessed by only the authorized person. Passwords like “123456” or “Password” are no better than no passwords at all. To that end, give some thought to your password policies. For example, the social media giant, Twitter, allowed employees to use common dictionary passwords along with the passwords that are already being used by other accounts. This practice left the system vulnerable to hackers. But Twitter could have easily reduced the risk by imposing stronger password policies.
Moreover once the user has created the password, it is your responsibility to store it securely. Storing credentials in plain text will make it easier for hackers to get access. Well, the risk can be easily avoided by using password encryption policies. Along with this, two-factor authentication can also be a wise choice here. Two factor authentication increases the difficulty to access user accounts by adding up an additional factor. This additional factor can be something you know (password, a pin), something you have(OTP) or something you are (Voice recognition, fingerprint recognition etc). While implementing 2FA, even if the hacker has your password, without additional factor, he won’t be able to access your accounts.
Secure Data Transmission
Now keeping your data secure within your system is the must-have. But many a times, you need to send that data somewhere else too. To ensure security during storage and transmission, you need to adopt strong cryptography. This method may vary depending upon the information you collect, the way you collect and the way you process it. Based on the nature of your business, some of the popular methods include TLS/SSL (Transport Layer Security/Security Sockets Layer) encryption, iterative cryptographic hash, data-at-rest encryption, etc. But no matter which method you choose, it is always necessary to make a person responsible to implement it. Make sure the designated guy understands how your business uses this data.
Segment Network and Monitor Access Activities
While designing your network, you should consider tools like firewalls which can help you segment the network. Segmenting the network limits the access between systems on your network. Not every system in your network needs to be inter-communicate with the other one. To help protect your sensitive data, you can house it in a different place on your network which is more secure. Another way is to use intrusion detection and prevention tools to keep a check on malicious activities. An effective intrusion detection tools asks one question whenever it detects unauthorized activity, this question is “Who’s knocking on my door?” These tools analyze access activities and prevent unauthorized users from getting into your account.
In brief, data security is no longer an optional. In the world full of cybercriminals, if you are not taking proper measurements, you are letting hackers crash your success party. Are you ready for that? If not, get on right security measurements now!
From time to time, SensorsTechForum features guest articles by cyber security and infosec leaders and enthusiasts such as this post. The opinions expressed in these guest posts, however, are entirely those of the contributing author, and may not reflect those of SensorsTechForum.